UN humanitarian chief sees genocide threat in Central African Republic

Vastavam web: UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said today he saw “the early warnings of genocide” during a recent visit to Central African Republic, which has faced sectarian fighting since 2013.He said in an interview with The Associated Press that “there’s a terrible development of militias now using ethnic or religious” reasons for attacks. He spoke with AP after briefing the UN Security Council on his trip behind closed doors at the request of France.Central African Republic, one of the world’s most impoverished nations, has been wracked by violence since predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels overthrew the Christian president in 2013 and seized power. .

Anti-Balaka militias fought back, resulting in thousands of deaths, the displacement of hundreds of thousands more and the flight of many Muslims to the country’s north or across the border into Chad and Cameroon.Despite peaceful elections in early 2016, violence has continued. Sectarian fighting has moved into the country’s central and southeastern regions, prompting warnings of a national conflict roaring back to life. More than 300 people have been killed and over 100,000 displaced since May.But the UN humanitarian chief went further on Tuesday, saying: “The early warnings of genocide are there.” O’Brien noted Central African Republic is twice the size of France, with only 1,300 kilometers of paved roads and just over 12,000 U.N. peacekeepers mandated to protect civilians.

He said that “there are massive flare-ups” not only in Bangassou but in Obo and Bria, also in the southeast, and “the concern is that there’s no control.” “The escalation is very real,” O’Brien said. “We’re looking at things which we haven’t heard about for a long time. There’s a very deep ethnic cleansing approach.”